Ipomoea for northern climates

Dell Sherk dells@voicenet.com
Mon, 26 Dec 2005 13:24:42 PST
Dear Dennis,

Yes, once in a while I have found critters on plant material donations. The
materials really need to be destroyed - burned - or in the case of your
seeds, thrown out, since your critters came from your backyard, so to speak.
We certainly do not want the seed sent to other countries. It would reflect
very badly on seed exchanges in general if the governments found out that we
were distributing contaminated seed. Especially since we are facing possible
harsher restrictions on the exchange of plant materials, we must be
scrupulously careful. 
On the same note, I have occasionally received donations of bulbs which
turned out to be infected with mealy bugs. The bugs were probably not
evident when the bulbs were sent, but appeared while the bulbs were in
transit. It is very important that we all learn how to recognize the signs
of infestations, and take proper measures to eliminate them, rather than
spread them, inadvertantly, to other plant collectors. For instance,
Lachenalias are particularly susceptible to mealy, and early signs include
distorted leaf growth and eventually white deposits on the leaves, often
well before any bugs are visible. The mealies live and feed inside the bulbs
and usually appear after the infestation becomes severe. Mealies can spread
virus as well as debilitating bulbs through their feeding. Drenching the
bulbs in a systemic insecticide is effective if you don't mind using
chemicals. A strong solution of Murphy's oil soap sometimes works on mild
Perhaps others can suggest measures that would sterilize seeds as a
precaution against surprise infestations like the one you have experienced.

Best wishes,

Dennis wrote:

>How can I be sure if there are no more beetles?  I'd hate to have these 
sent abroad and introduce an unwanted pest somewhere far away (California, 
Canada, South Africa, etc.).  Any suggestions?  Dell, have you ever sorted 
through donations only to find them "contaminated" with hitchhikers?

Dennis in Cincy

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